Earlier this week, Hunter Pence gave one of the most stirring athletic speeches in sports history, propelling his San Francisco Giants to three straight wins in Cincinnati and digging his team out of an 0-2 hole for a huge NLDS victory over the Reds.
Two nights ago, Raul Ibanez hit not one, but two home runs coming off the bench for the Yankees, giving New York a 2-1 series lead in their ALDS matchup.
Last night, Jayson Werth did this.
In what will go down as one of the best at-bats in postseason history, Werth battled St. Louis pitcher Lance Lynn for 13 pitches before hammering a 3-2 offering into the left field bullpen to give the Nationals a 2-1, walk-off win against St. Louis.
The homer also saved the Nationals’ season, forcing a Game 5 at Nationals Park on Friday night.
(Oh, by the way, if you haven’t heard Washington’s play-by-play guy Charlie Slowes’ call of Werth’s home run, it’s worth a listen. I’ll put it this way, it’s the anti-Tom McCarthy. And by that, I mean, it’s really, really good.)
It will probably go down as Werth’s signature moment as a Major League player, and continues the trend in this postseason of former Phils coming up huge on the big stage this week.
It’s a shame we didn’t see many of these heroics in 2010 and 2011. But hey, we’re not bitter.
Oh, yes we are.
”It’s what you play all season for, and what you work out all winter for, and what you get to spring training early for,” Werth said. ”We have a chance tomorrow to take that next step. I know my teammates will be ready. And the city will, too.”
A few weeks ago, when the Nats were at Citizens Bank Park, Jayson Werth essentially turned heel, took a metal folding chair and smashed it over the backs of Phils fans when he faked throwing a foul ball into the stands to a group of fans.
Werth played it up in his proceeding at-bat, drawing huge boos from the crowd, before delivering a game-winning single that eventually gave the Nationals a much-needed win.
So I’m sure it was with mixed emotions that Phillies fans watched their former right fielder, the guy who had delivered so many big hits during his career with the team, come through in such a huge way for his new club.
Of course, it’s ridiculous to be mad at Werth for anything. He was offered a ridiculously huge contract by Washington after the 2010 season, one that any Philly fan would accept in a heartbeat, even if it meant leaving your beloved home and/or workplace behind in the dust.
And while Werth will probably never live up to that seven-year, $126 million contract, it’s easy to see why the Nats wanted him so badly.
He has now played in 48 postseason games and hit .267/.381/.582 for an OPS of .963, with 14 HRs in his career.
The number of playoff games coming into the season played by the rest of the Nats’ starting lineup yesterday? Eight, all by Adam LaRoche.
So Werth is the one guy Davey Johnson had to know wouldn’t be fazed by the moment. And he wasn’t.
Of course, this week’s heroics by all these former Phillies players has to be both satisfying and infuriating for Phils fans. And can you imagine if Ibanez had hit another walk-off home run last night?
I’m pretty sure the earth would have collapsed in on itself had that happened.
It’s tough to watch these players who previously wore Phillies pinstripes have postseason success with other teams.
It’s kind of like watching a girl you broke up with get engaged to another guy. You know you made the right decision to initiate the breakup, but you’re still a bit jealous that good things are happening to her, especially if you’re down on your luck.
It’s petty, but it’s human emotion. Stupid emotions.
So now, Werth and the Nationals have a chance to take one more step. If they win Game 5, it’s onto the NLCS against Hunter Pence and the San Francisco Giants, with the Phils’ last two right fielders squaring off against one another in a showdown for the World Series. One leading with his voice, the other leading with his bat (and beard).
The way things are going, this match-up has to happen, right?
And the way things are going, it’s possible both these guys will hit walk-off home runs in the same game, right?
Ugh. I need a drink.